Turning Dreams into Reality: The Fascinating Stories of Homeowners Embracing ADUs

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have gained popularity in recent years, offering homeowners versatile spaces for various needs. While many people create ADUs for extra income or additional workspace, some homeowners have found these backyard structures so appealing that they ended up moving in themselves. In this article, we’ll explore a few remarkable stories of ADUs that turned out so well that the homeowners decided to call them home.


1. Birdsong and a Barn in Northern California

Backyard Building: Why ADUs Are a Popular Choice for Marin Homeowners -  Marin Magazine

Homeowners: Interior designer Paige Coleman and her teenage daughter
Size: 900 square feet (84 square meters); two bedrooms, one bathroom

Paige Coleman had initially planned to tear down her San Jose, California, home and build a new one. However, a change in her life circumstances led her to a new idea. She decided to construct an ADU, move into it, and rent out the front house. Collaborating with architect Brad Cox, she designed a charming two-bedroom, 900-square-foot structure with a California board-and-batten-style design.

Inside the ADU, the main living spaces and Coleman’s room are on the main floor, while her daughter’s space is on the second level. The kitchen, designed to fulfill Coleman’s dream of an open range alcove, cleverly utilizes every inch of space with open shelving, extra cabinet storage, and a microwave drawer.

Paige Coleman named her property "Birdsong Ranch," reflecting the abundance of avian friends that frequent her seven feeders, birdbath, and fountain. This newfound lifestyle immersed in nature’s serenades demonstrates the unexpected allure of ADUs.

2. Fun With Friends on the Patio in Seattle

Size: 588 square feet (55 square meters)
Designer: Bruce Parker of microhouse

In Seattle, a homeowner had originally planned to create a modest ADU for rental income. However, during construction, he fell in love with the space and decided to move in with his girlfriend, renting out the main house to friends. The 588-square-foot cottage now serves as both a personal haven and an entertainment space.

The ADU boasts a versatile design, featuring a workout area, a spacious patio with a fire pit and grill, and even a tap for chilled beer from kegs. The kitchen island doubles as a workspace and motorcycle maintenance station, showcasing the flexibility of smaller living spaces.

This homeowner’s decision to embrace the ADU lifestyle and share it with friends emphasizes the social appeal of well-designed ADUs.

3. Reimagined Carriage House History in Portland, Oregon


Homeowners: Artists Wayne Hughes and Danny Hills
Size: 1,538 square feet (143 square meters)

Wayne Hughes and Danny Hills of Portland, Oregon, undertook a remarkable project to reimagined a historic carriage house on their property. Their meticulous attention to detail led to the creation of a Victorian-style ADU with Arts and Crafts accents.

Originally intended for their pottery business on the first level and rental on the second, the couple’s passion for the vintage look and the appeal of downsizing changed their plans. They now reside in the ADU and rent out their main Victorian house for short-term stays.

The kitchen in their ADU exudes vintage charm with a retro stove, red fridge, and an array of antique china. The space includes a dining area, a cozy living room with a fireplace, a full bedroom, and a flexible loft-style bedroom that can be closed off for privacy.

Their journey from renovating their main house to embracing a smaller, artistically crafted ADU demonstrates the transformative power of these structures.

In these stories of ADUs that turned out so well the homeowners moved in, we see the unique allure of downsizing and living in creatively designed spaces. These homeowners found not only practicality but also a newfound sense of comfort and joy within their ADUs. Whether it’s the serene Birdsong Ranch, the social haven in Seattle, or the artistically reimagined carriage house in Portland, ADUs have proven to be much more than just additional dwellings; they are expressions of homeowners’ dreams and lifestyles.

Unlock the Potential of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

“What are ADUs and why are they gaining popularity?”

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs), often referred to as "granny flats" or "mother-in-law suites," serve as an essential solution to the pressing issue of affordable housing scarcity. These self-contained living spaces have gained immense popularity due to their practicality and accessibility. In a real estate landscape marked by diminishing housing options and rising rents, ADUs offer a lifeline for homeowners and renters alike.

  • ADUs address affordable housing challenges.
  • They provide practical, self-contained living spaces.
  • Gaining popularity amid housing shortages and soaring rents.

“What inspired homeowners to move into their ADUs?”

Homeowners have been drawn to ADUs for a multitude of compelling reasons, fueling the surge in their popularity. These versatile living spaces have inspired homeowners due to their ability to expand living quarters, generate rental income, support multi-generational living arrangements, and adapt to diverse needs.

  • ADUs offer expanded living space.
  • Homeowners can generate rental income.
  • Ideal for accommodating multi-generational households.
  • ADUs provide flexible spaces for various needs.

What is ADU remodeling?

ADU, or Accessory Dwelling Unit, refers to a permanent structure that offers a fully-equipped living area situated in the backyard of an existing residential property. These units encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from custom mini-houses complete with plumbing fixtures and appliances to creatively repurposed garages or sheds.

  • ADU remodeling involves the transformation of these living spaces.
  • It encompasses adapting and upgrading ADUs to meet specific needs.
  • From full-scale renovations to creative conversions, ADU remodeling enhances functionality.

What is the significance of ADU?

ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units, hold considerable significance for homeowners and families. They address the challenges of growing families or the desire for added privacy within a household. By increasing home occupancy without proportionally raising living expenses, ADUs offer an affordable solution.

  • ADUs accommodate growing families without the need for a larger primary residence.
  • They provide privacy within a household.
  • ADUs are a cost-effective way to expand living space.

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